יום חמישי, 14 ביולי 2016

Between Two Cities: The Problem of the Cities in Isaiah 24 – 27, by Galya Semo

הוצאת מוסד ביאליק
Chapters 24 to 27 of the Book of Isaiah are often called the Apocalypse of Isaiah by the  scholarly literature. These chapters discuss the imminent revelation of God who comes to judge and punish the world and establish a reign of divine justice on Earth. Though there is no question that these chapters form a single literary unit, they are a major mystery in Biblical scholarship owing to the numerous exegetical problems they contain. These problems include the unique linguistic and syntactical form of many verses in this section, the ideas expressed in these verses, and the difficulty trying to determine when this section or its parts were written. The present article lacks space to deal with all these problems and therefore focuses only on one: the identity of the cities mentioned in chapters 24 to 27.

The article starts off (paragraph 1) with a review of the scholarly writings on the two cities and the difficulties with them. The solutions to the problems in the literature will then be presented (para. 2) and the difficulties these various solutions present. Finally (para. 3), I will propose a solution regarding the identity of the cities in these verses. They are symbolic, typological cities and that chapters 24 – 27  do not describe a real historical event but rather are part of a general eschatological vision depicting the coming of the warrior God who will judge the sinful earth and reward his faithful followers for their suffering and loyalty. The first city, referred to in Isaiah 24: 8-12; 25: 2-5; 26: 5-6, and 27: 10-11, symbolizes the evil in the world, the vanity of human pride, and the refusal of humans to recognize God's kingship. The second city appears in chapter 26:1-2 and can be identified typologically with the cities of the Faithful who are rewarded for their devotion to God. Unlike scholars who isolate the paragraphs describing the two cities and analyze them separately from chapters 24 to 27, I wish to suggest that we can only fully understand the two cities as two parts of the same narrative if we see them as part of a description of God's war against those who rebel against him and his support for his Faithful believers. 

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